Do you ever argue with your spouse? My guess is that if you are honest the answer is that you argue more than you would like to admit. If you read my blog very often then you know that my darling is on the road providing for his family most of the time. It is a difficult lifestyle, but one we accepted long ago.
When my darling is on the road I try to make sure we don't discuss life's major topics, preferring to save important conversations for face-to-face time. The problem with that goal is that major topics can be put on hold for several days, increasing the urgency to "talk". We have never found a great way to schedule time to talk, but while we were attending a recent Weekend to Remember marriage retreat I came up with an idea. A simple hourglass with a note.
I can put the hourglass on his home office desk with a little note tied to it. (He walks into his office immediately upon entering the house to put his briefcase away.) The note is simple. Topic only. No opinion, no emotion, just a topic. We agree on a time to talk and set the time limit to 1 hour. We can always schedule a follow-up, but we agree to stop at the 1 hour mark. That let's me know that my darling will make the time and that he is thinking about the topic. It also let's him know that we will not be having an epic conversation, but instead a conversation with a clear ending point. Admittedly, I tend to let our "conversations" last until the wee hours of the morning.
I'm happy to report that we started our marriage retreat weekend with a bit of trepidation that was unmerited. Past experiences with marriage retreats have seen positive outcomes, but only through difficult work sorting through some deep water. We thought our marriage was in a good place, but we were both expecting something to explode. Thankfully, we avoided all explosions and instead came away with an easy plan to resolve the one problem that was plaguing us.